is for the up and coming, soon to be, want to be, or already screen writer. The software
is from Mariner Software and provides all the needed pieces to become the next Joss
Whedon, unless of course you get canceled before the first season. Although there
are other software solutions out there, there the one thing that sets this software
apart: cost. You do not have to spend half a months salary to get a product that
will give you all of the components necessary to submit the next American Graffiti
to the BBC.
- Mac OS X 10.4 or
higher (including Leopard)
- 128 MB memory
- 20 MB disk space
- G4 processor or higher
Setup of the software could not be easier. It follows the standard Mac install practices
and just works.
To begin to use the software, all you need is an idea, and the ability to type. There
are multiple templates available for you to choose from, so you can submit in the
correct format, or you can use the blank template.
Once you figure out the template, you are going to use the basic interface which
is rather straight forward. You are presented with what looks like a basic word processor.
The magic is what is behind the basic input, and is what makes turning out your work
so very easy.
Building a Script in Montage
I used Montage to
flesh out a story line that has bounced through my head for way too long. I was stumped
as to how to put my ideas in type, until I started using this software. To be honest,
I am not a writer by most standards, but what I am good at is selling a story. This
software finally gave me that ability to put to paper in a way that is close to how
The software was easy to use and it took me a little time to catch on to the ideas
of creating a story in script format. If you look on the sidebar, you will notice
a set of icons for functions, such as outline or tasks. These other sections help
you organize and compile all of the pieces that go into the script as well as contacts
and how to write a query letter to get that producer to read what you think is the
next great work.
So lets look at two of my favorite features, the first is characters. This area is
populated as you create characters within the script, or you can add them manually.
You can see where they are within the script, and you can add text and pictures directly
to the character which might be important to fleshing out the character.
The other feature that I love is the research area. This is the place I can put the
scene pieces that fill in a location or something that is on screen or in a location
for a particular reason. Since I am such a visual person, it lets me fill in pieces
before they go to the script, or just create notes on things. I use it as my note
pad and scratchpad for the props and products within the script.
One other small feature which I appreciate is that the software puts a backup of
your current script in your document folder, so you don't have to worry about losing
hours of work due to some unexpected mishap.
The output of your script project can be in multiple forms, depending on what you
are submitting or how you are submitting. The way you save your document will dictate
how it is saved. For example, if you save in DOC or PDF you get the script only.
Where as, saving as FDR (final draft), you save everything, and the resulting file
can be re-opened in Montage. However, I could not find an output report option that
lets you print a report that includes all of the sections of your script project.
With any good software,
it cannot all be perfect. The thing I had to get used to is how a script goes together.
I actually looked at many many scripts before I had my "ah ha" moment.
The different pieces of the script are color coded or indented, and it took me a
while to try to understand why the software was attempting to do what it was doing.
The software trys to follow a basic set of rules for a script, but sometimes what
you want to do and what it thinks you are doing do not jive. The color coding of
different pieces helps this out. Also when you are typing in a character name, sometimes
it thinks it really knows who you are wanting to use and will jump in after the first
letter or two and instantly fill in the whole name.
To get you through the hurdles of working with a new piece of software, Mariner has
included large amounts of documentation available from the help menu. It covers all
aspects of the software, including a tutorial to show you the different section functions.
is a great product for anyone wanting to write a script. It keeps you organized,
and your thoughts and story collected in a single area. It provides the tools to
format that script according to company guidelines. It helps you with how to get
your foot in the door, and it has well written and very complete help function when
you get lost. I certainly recommend this software to anyone looking to use their
Macintosh to write a script.
- Great for casting
script ideas into a cohesive whole
- Great on a set for
keeping the visual parts of a production organized
- Easy to learn
- Useful and well-organized
- Nice ability to include
visual references (photographs, etc.)
- No option to print
out all of the sections
- Autotype feature
sometimes can be annoying
- Software rules not
always in sync with author's wants
4 out of 5 Mice